What type of road bed do you use?

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by iis612, Oct 28, 2008.

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What type of road bed do you use?

  1. Homasote

    13 vote(s)
    10.6%
  2. Foam

    33 vote(s)
    26.8%
  3. Cork

    72 vote(s)
    58.5%
  4. None/Other

    21 vote(s)
    17.1%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    Thanks for the response. I have one more question specific to my own layout plans. I intend to use Micro Engineering code 55 flex track on a switching layout. There are no commercial switches made with code 55 rail, so I am going to use Central Valley plastic tie strips for the switches with Micro Engineering code 55 rail. I think I can slide the rail into the Central Valley tie strips like flex track and just need to cut and file the points to fit. I'll get frogs from the Proto 87 Store. They offer frog castings in both proto 87 and NMRA standard sizes. I expect I'll be able to install the Central Valley tie strips like I would flex track with track nails. I might glue the tie strip with construction adhesive just making sure to keep the adhesive away from the area around the throwbar in which case I would not need any nails. I need to go to Los Angeles to inspect the track work of the Los Angeles Junction Railway again, but I think their track is laid right on grade with no ballast if I remember correctly. Do you see any possible problems that I'm not addressing with my plans?
  2. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

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    They seem fine. You'll probably want to remember remove the plastic tie plates/spikes where they would interfere with the points. Another point is that the ties aren't long enough to look right (if it is just flex track style strips). I'd suggest sliding the rail in, glueing/soldering it to keep it in gauge, and then sliding it out of the tie strips and gluing/spiking it to wood (or soldering to pc board) ties...so that the ties are longer. Otherwise, it seems fine.

    I've long thought about building a small HOn3 layout by butchering N-scale track components. I'd steal all of the rail for turnouts out of code 55 turnouts and re-gauge the components on new ties. It would also work with HO. A few alterations would be needed such as longer points and such...it is similar to your plans...with the advantage being in that I can get them from my local hobby shop. I'm certain that the Proto87 store would have nicer looking components. I'd also compare the price/appearance of Atlas's code 55 rail in their flex track...it might be cheaper than ME's...

    The LAJR might have: soldered it to PCB ties, used a really soft wood for roadbed, or even glued it.
  3. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

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    Okay - so what did we finally decide - cork good or bad? Foam rubber bad? Extruded foam very bad? Nothing at all = horrible and noisy?

    I think I'm getting the message that cork is preferred - yes...or no?
  4. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

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    No consensus so far...mix between cork is a nuisance and just fine.

    My opinions:
    for flex track:
    Foam best
    cork ok
    plywood bad

    for hand laying:
    cork best
    foam sub par
    plywood terrible

    I prefer both to be on extruded foam and then either spline or plywood.
  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

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    The Central Valley tie strips I'm referring to are actually the tie sections that they put under their ready made turnouts, so they are the correct length. It is a bit less expensive to buy the pieces from them and build my own switches as well as the fact that I want to use code 55 and they don't make anything smaller than code 70. I looked into the company that offers jigs to build your own turnouts at the NMRA convention, but I would probably need to spend $200.00-$400.00 for various jigs and fixtures from them before I could build my first turnout!
  6. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

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    Ouch! That's what's kept me away from Fast tracks fine products...capital investment. Maybe on the big layout someday, but for my modest 3 turnouts...files have worked well enough.

    With knowledge of the tie strips you're referring too (I should have looked it up), it sounds just fine. Your turnouts will look great. Hopefully the code 55 webs aren't appreciably small than code 70 and therefore fit nicely into the tie strips.

    I've previously checkout out CV's flex track strips and wow...that's nice stuff. Shame they don't offer some of the trucks and cool rolling stock the old CV offered.
  7. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

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    I've mentioned this before, however I'll say it again, if you plan to spend money on a FT fixture, get one of the double x-over fixtures. With one fixture you can build single to's single x-overs, dble x-overs and a crossing. Really the best bang for your buck when you think about it. I wish I had that foresight when I placed my order.
  8. bob_suruncle

    bob_suruncle Member

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    slightly off topic but not really.... is everyone using fine needle nose pliers to drive the spikes or are you using some other tool?
  9. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

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    I don't use pliers...I use my teeth :mrgreen:

    Actually, i use a funky tool, I don't recall who makes it, it's probably somewhere between 30 and 45 years old. It holds a spike while I start it, and then I remove it from the spike, put it on top, and drive it in. I usually drive my spikes in at a 45 degree angle to the rail...when viewed from above, to be able to fine tune the gauge.
  10. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

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  11. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

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  12. Stu McGee

    Stu McGee Member

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    I have some hidden staging yet to get started and am really thinking that WS foam is the way to go. I here it is very quiet. I use cork on top as it is so forgiving.
  13. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

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    When I built my current small layout 4-5 years ago, I used cork because I thought that was the best source, especially over homasote (which seemed hard to find).

    If I were to build a new layout, I would use the black foam strips. They seem much easier to handle, position and lay. I'd probably use insulation foam boards as well for the layout (not plywood) as it is strong and very light.

    Rob
  14. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

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    Im really surprised the foam doesn't have more votes lol, i understand that it would not be much of use for hand laying track, but i personally like the foam over cork, and the foam is plenty quiet for me (i also have 1" thick foam board layed down under the WS road bed). I guess its just a preference type thing, and i know cork was around way before the WS foam was, so many of the modelers out there that have been in the hobby for a while still prefer the cork over foam, which is easy to understand, because i myself am the same way lol I stick to the old stuff and old ways im used to doing things even when there is new ways... :mrgreen: its just how i am lol
  15. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

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    Rob i would suggest at least a 3/8" plywood under the foam board just in case, foam board alone will not be stong enough by itself.... If you can get away with it, go with 1/2" or 5/8" but if you want it to be light then 3/8" should be fine with foam board as well :thumb:
  16. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

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    Thanks! That makes sense. I was thinking that, if I were to build a new layout, it would be another small one. Either a long shelf layout (still small, only around 2 x 8') or 4 x 8, etc. I was hoping that the foam would still be strong enough for that (but it would probably be safer to reinforce it). Rob
  17. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

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    If you use 2-3" thick foam, you might be okay, but i still would suggest the use of some thickness of plywood under it just to be safe like you said, afterall, you wouldnt want all your hard work to be ruined and trains to plunge to the floor just for trying to cut a corner and skip the plywood base :eek: lol

    2x8' shelf layouts are pretty cool too. if you do N scale you can get some nice stuff in there, HO you can still do some nice stuff and have a couple small industries for a nice little switching action. Ive never done a 4x8' layout, my grandpa did something similar, was a 5'x8' layout, i remember working on it with him when i was about 5 or 6
  18. Stu McGee

    Stu McGee Member

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    Right now I am using 1/4 ply luan on clear ix framing, screwed and glued with 3 inches of foam. Most track is level, the scenery changes elevation. Back to the track and to Sattler's for my turbo train!
  19. Jim Krause

    Jim Krause Active Member

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    I have used cork exclusively on my On30 modules. Our HO, club layout standard is cork but I did use WS foam roadbed on some sidings on my logging line portion of the club layout. As others have stated, "the foam is easy to work with on small radii. Haven't seen any deterioration of either the foam or cork so far. Thats 12 years for the club layout.
  20. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

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    Thanks! A 2x8' layout is a feasible layout but still a "down-the-road" project. Just thinking about it for now! Mine would have to be an HO layout since I have a lot of HO rolling stock. Rob